Counter and Defend with the Best! – BJJ Fanatics

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Do you pay enough attention to counters and escapes? I find it’s pretty natural to spend the bulk of our time on attacking, acquiring dominant positions, and transitions. Sometimes we tend to put the counters and escapes on the back burner. However, they are of great importance, and deserve just as much attention as the rest of our game. Let’s take a look at some defenses and counter to some common submissions from some of the best players in the BJJ game. We’ll check out a defense to the kimura, a counter to the D’arce choke, and a guillotine defense. Let’s get started!

Transitioning from side control to the north south position is one of the most common ways to chase a kimura in BJJ. It makes perfect sense. When we transition, we leave our partners hips safely behind, staving off guard retention for the most part and we also get a chance to attack a great submission. 

From the bottom end we become incredibly vulnerable during this type of transition. It can be difficult to keep the top player from acquiring our limbs and causing us trouble. Once the figure four is secured, there’s a whole host of attacks to worry about. It’s important that we manage the acquisition of the figure four with urgency or we may succumb to its submissions. 

In this video Alec Baulding shows us exactly how to deal with this incredibly common scenario. He begins with the transition to north south and shows us just what to do should one of our limbs be captured with the figure four. Check it out!

As his partner transitions to the north south from side control, its not that difficult of a task for Baulding’s partner to slice under his elbow and acquire the figure four grip. Once this occurs, Baulding must begin to answer quickly. Here Baulding immediately grabs his own arm (think guillotine grip). He also lifts his head off the mat, which gets in the way of his partners hips and makes it a little more difficult for his partner to step over and separate his head from his body. Baulding then bridges and drives his elbow to the mat. Timing is important here and Baulding wants to make sure his partner doesn’t get too comfortable. So, make sure you’re ready to react as your partner secures the figure four.

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There is also the possibility of the arm bar here as Baulding pulls his elbow to the floor. Baulding advises us to stay the course and pull the elbow down hard to the floor. More than likely the top player will end up with a short arm to work with and the submission will simply just not be there. 

As you escape, remember to keep moving. Get on top, get your guard back and keep working to get back to a favorable spot. 

This is a phenomenal entry level answer to something that we see all the time. This transition/submission combo is a heavy hitter in no gi and the gi as well. Commit this one to memory!

If you love the half guard, you probably work the under hook quite a bit. And if you use the under hook, you know the D’arce choke is a threat. The D’arce is a bit more common in a no gi setting and it is an effective tool against a lazy under hook, so we have to cautious. In this video Lucas Leite show us how to use a D’arce attempt to our own benefit. Take a look at this half guard master’s advice on how to deal with the D’arce. 

Leite begins with one of his signature movements. His hook switch. He uses this switch to facilitate a number of reversals and transitions. Here after he makes the switch, his partner commits to a deep whizzer, and the threat of the D’arce becomes an issue. Leite uses a scissoring motion with his legs to put loads of pressure on his partners knee. He then begins to walk underneath his partner in a circular motion, while also extending his arm under his partner’s leg. As he rolls to the other side, he keeps the leg hooked until he can pass his opposite knee to the backside of his partner. He then settles in to side control and gets heavy!

Leitie is a master of this position and this is definitely something you’ll run in to if you’re a fan of the half guard yourself!

Another classic BJJ submission that we will continuously encounter throughout the journey is the guillotine. Properly executed the guillotine can command an instant tap. The defenses to the guillotine vary on the type of attack being used, as there are many different forms of the submission, using different configurations of the hands and arms. 

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  Let’s see what Bernardo Faria recommends as an answer to this brutal submission.

Initially Faria reminds us of the most basic way to escape the guillotine, jumping to the opposite side of the attack. If we can clear our partners legs and travel tot eh opposite side, we will be free of the guillotine. But this is not usually possible on a savvy player. They will be working to control our lower body as well to keep us from defending. 

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With his neck secured and his partner’s leg up over his back, Faria is trapped in deep guillotine territory. His first order of business is to defend his neck. He reaches in and cups his partner’s choking arm, securing a tight hold on the wrist. He then begins to roll to the same side his head is trapped on. As he transitions into the mount position, he continues to roll and begins hip escaping, removing his body from his partners guard. He’s then free to come up and establish a top side control position. 

Remember to keep moving here. We don’t want our opponent to have a chance to settle in, in the mount. 

I absolutely love this escape. Often times from here we try to reach over the back and come forward, but that type of escaping can become very messy and its easy to lose your balance and easily give up the mount. By rolling through here Faria creates opportunity for himself to exit the position. Faria always gives clear concise instruction and accessible technique. Amazing stuff.

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